Pierre-François Drais (1726-1788) was a pupil of one of his Ducrollay cousins, a Parisian master goldsmith. Drais struck his mark in 1763 and was soon employed by the service of the Menus Plaisirs du Roi. Thus he was commissioned for the famous gold box made for the marriage of the Comte d'Artois to Princess Marie-Thérèse of Savoy. As a result, Drais became bijoutier du Roi and had among his many clients Madame du Barry and, later, King Louis XVI of France. Jacques-Joseph de Gault specialised in painting scenes which emulated the Neoclassical fashion for hardstone cameos. De Gault's style developed through his work as a porcelain painter at the Sèvres factory from 1758 to 1760, and by 1777 he was exhibiting paintings imitating cameos at the Académie de Saint-Luc. De Gault's technique of painting classical vignettes can be seen in the present lot as well as on thirteen boxes set with miniatures by the artist in the Louvre (S. Grandjean, Catalogue des tabatières, boîtes et étuis des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1981, no. 55, 82, 83, 85 90, 103, 172, 207, 211, 240, 264, 284, 394). Two of these boxes, no's. 83 and 85 also by Drais, are set with panels of coloured shell with gold-work of very similar design and form to the present box, though each is of a different shape. Miniatures signed by and attributed to De Gault feature on other boxes made by such notable Parisian goldsmiths as Jean Ducrollay (fl. 1734-1761), Charles Ouizille (fl. 1771-1830) and Adrien-Jean-Maximilien Vachette (fl. 1779-1839). The artist's most impressive commission was perhaps that of the jewel cabinet at Versailles for Queen Marie-Antoinette, partly illustrated in C. Jeannerat, 'De Gault et Gault de Saint-Germain', Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français, 1835, opp. p. 224.